Free Yellow Fever preventive vaccination campaign is vital

Ms Jolly Twongyeirwe, Communication Officer 

What you need to know:

  • ...we must recognise the collective responsibility we share in safeguarding public health. 

As Uganda embarks on the rollout of the free yellow fever mass vaccination campaign launched on Thursday the April 4, 2024 in Buikwe District, it mirrors a crucial milestone in the nation’s ongoing efforts to protect public health and foster resilience against infectious diseases. 

Spearheaded by the Ministry of Health, this ambitious campaign targets to vaccinate about 95 percent of Ugandans aged nine months at routine vaccination and one to 60years. 
The recent upsurge in yellow fever cases across the globe serves as a stark reminder of the ever-present risk of outbreaks and the urgent need for pre-emptive action.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2022-2023 report on Yellow Fever, Uganda was listed among the countries still at high risk of Yellow Fever transmission, the same report also noted that Ugandan travellers are required to produce proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever being a state party to the International Health Regulation 2005 (IHR).

In light of this, the Ministry of Health’s decision to launch a mass vaccination campaign is a timely response to the WHO’s Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) by 2026, a comprehensive global strategy to face yellow fever’s changing epidemiology, the resurgence of mosquitoes, and the increased risk of urban outbreaks and international spread. 

Recognising the importance of reaching all segments of society, especially those in remote and underserved areas, the campaign which runs under the theme “One injection lifelong protection”employs a multi-faceted approach that combines targeted outreach, robust public education, and streamlined vaccination delivery channels in the selected 53 Districts. By leveraging on the existing healthcare infrastructure and partnering with local authorities, development partners, and community leaders, the Ministry of Health aims to ensure that every eligible individual has access to the vaccine, regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic status. The success of this vaccination campaign hinges not only on the availability of the vaccine but also on the active participation and cooperation of the general public.

In a country where people are more interested in the proof of vaccination yellow book than the vaccine itself, a landscape where misinformation and vaccine hesitancy abound, the Ministry of Health has taken proactive steps to address concerns, dispel myths, and provide accurate information about the safety and efficacy of the yellow fever vaccine. Through community mobilisation efforts, public awareness campaigns, and engagement with key stakeholders, the Ministry of Health seeks to build a supportive environment where individuals feel empowered to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

As Uganda navigates the complexities of the yellow fever vaccination campaign, we must recognise the collective responsibility we share in safeguarding public health. By embracing the opportunity to receive the free Yellow Fever vaccine, we not only protect ourselves and our families but also contribute to the broader goal of achieving population-wide immunity against yellow fever. In doing so, we fortify the resilience of our nation’s health system, enhance our capacity to respond to future health threats, and pave the way for a healthier, more prosperous Uganda for generations to come.

In the face of uncertainty and adversity, the yellow fever mass vaccination campaign stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, symbolising our unwavering commitment to the health and well-being of all Ugandans. As we embark on this collective endeavour, let us stand united in purpose and solidarity, driven by the shared vision of a healthier, more resilient future for Uganda.             

Ms Jolly Twongyeirwe, Communication Officer 
Ministry of Health.